Predicting edible mushroom productivity using forest carbon allocation modeling and immunoassays of ectomycorrhizae

Estimating Site Occupancy

Immunoassays of ectomycorrhizae

In collaboration with Dr. Eric Danell, we anticipate contracting with immunoassay development companies to develop monoclonal antibody reagents (Miller et al. 1998, Neuner-Plattner et al. 1999) that will allow us to quickly assay the percentage of ectomycorrhizae in stands colonized by either chanterelles or matsutake. Our immunoassays will be designed for specificity to the genus Cantharellus, and for matsutake we will plan reagents specific to the unique odor molecule (methyl cinnimate, Yajima et al. 1981) produced by the several species of Tricholoma that are harvested as "matsutake" around the world.

Olfactory surveys of matsutake mats

Chanterelle mycelia grow diffusely in the soil so directly estimating their mass or volume is not currently feasible. American matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare) mycelia, however, grow in dense mats near the surface of the mineral soil and the mats exude the distinctive odor of matsutake. Charles LeFevre, as a part of his graduate thesis, has developed, tested, and refined olfactory sampling procedures for estimating the areal extent of matsutake mycelia in a forest stand.


Charles Lefevre taking a soil plug near Chemult Oregon to sample for the distinctive matsutake odor.

 Tom Horton participating in olfactory sensitivity tests to verify the efficacy of sniffing soil samples to detect matsutake mycelium.


Percentage occurrence in productivity plots

As a backup to both of these approaches to estimating site occupancy, we plan to sample mushroom productivity using numerous systematically located small plots. The percentage of plots that are occupied by either chanterelles or matsutake will give us a less direct, but hopefully still useful, estimate of the site occupancy for each species.

An example of numerous dispersed mushroom plots in a stand of trees to estimate both mushroom productivity and site occupancy.

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